Pattern Review: Simplicity 8166 Tunic

Despite the drought and oppressive heat here in Boston, my sewing mojo has been in full bloom!

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website – “Misses’ peasant style blouse and dress features a shirring or bow tie neckline to create a chic look. Pattern also includes skirt and pant”

I made the bow-blouse/tunic, view D

Sizing: 8-22. I made a 12.

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Easy Care Paisley Charmeuse from Gorgeous Fabrics. That fabric is, alas, long since sold out, but Here’s a Page with similar fabrics that would work well for this top (or the dress).

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, sleeve board, Clover Hold It Stiletto.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Superior So-Fine #50 Thread (more on that later), Maxi Lock Thread (in the serger). Clear snaps, 1/4 inch elastic, Interfacing from stash.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Quick Tip – Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? More or less (more on that in the Construction Notes section)

How were the instructions? Hmmm. I’ll give you an anecdote. About a dozen years ago, when I toured Simplicity’s then-headquarters on Park Avenue, I asked one of their folks about their instructions and why they were… less than I would like. Her response was, “We will never put more than 2 double-sided pages of instructions in an envelope.” When I pressed her, using Claire Shaeffer’s instructions as a counterpoint, her expression hardened and she said again, “We will NEVER put more than 2 double-sided pages of instructions in an envelope.”


Moving right along,

Construction Notes: I made an FBA
8166 FBA
I did NOT like their method for inserting the placket. The elastic was too long, and it just looked Becky-Home-Ecky to me. I applied interfacing to the plackets and sewed them into the CF opening as you would a sleeve placket, with the plackets overlapping. Instead of elastic/button closures, I used clear snaps as closures. I thought about using decorative snaps, but the ones I have in stash are just a skoosh too big, so I went with these.

Here you can see the snaps

I also found, with this method of placket construction, that I needed only 5 snaps, instead of 8 buttons.

I used my favorite way of setting a sleeve, and if I do say, it works great!

That’s a nice shoulder line!

One note: the sleeve elastic guide is WAY too big. You can see it in the pattern picture – the sleeve gapes away from the model’s wrist. The guide for a size 12 is 9 inches. I only needed 7 1/4 inches. My advice is measure your wrist and add about a half inch to 3/4 of an inch. That’s more than enough and it won’t cut off circulation.

Likes/Dislikes: I like the look of this pattern. It’s got a vaguely 70s vibe. I really dislike the way they have you construct the front closure, and I’m not crazy about the instructions in general.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. I only need one of these blouses. Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Conclusion: Despite my reservations, I do like the way it turned out. If the weather ever cools here in Boston I’ll try to get a picture of me in it. In the meantime, here it is on Shelley.

About the thread. I was contacted by a very nice man from Superior Threads earlier this year. He wanted to know if I would be interested in carrying their thread, and sent me several samples. This one just happened to match my fabric well, so I used it for this project. I was suitably impressed! It is quite fine, as the name implies. They recommend using an 80/12 topstitch needle with it, but I think they target a quilting market, rather than a garment sewing market. It worked fine with a Universal 70/10 needle. I like it because it doesn’t shred. I’ve had a real problem recently with some Gutterman thread shredding as it feeds through my machine. I know it’s not the Pfaff, since other threads don’t have that problem. This thread seems to be strong enough to stand up to regular wear and tear. I’ll let you know as time goes. I’m the first to admit I’m not a thread expert, but this one seems like a winner. I haven’t decided if I’m going to carry it, but you can link to the manufacturer above. I receive no compensation for any links, and I am not affiliated with Superior Threads, so click through with impunity!

Not sure what I’m going to make next, but I’m hoping inspiration comes soon, since my mojo is going gangbusters.

Happy sewing!

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Gorgeous Fabrics

I own an online fabric store, The name says it all!

9 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Simplicity 8166 Tunic”

  1. That finished blouse is so much nicer than I would have expected looking at the packet illustration. Beautiful!

  2. How did you get a nice shirt tail hem on this? I’m going to try a blouse in this weight of fabric and won’t tuck it in so it needs to look decent with no ripples.

  3. I like your tunic better than the envelope! Am I blind or highly un-caffeinated this morning – I don’t see the tip for shirt tail hem??

    Simplicity will only put 2 instruction sheets in? Ever?!? Never ever any more, no matter how many complaints they get about bad or nonexistent instructions?!?! No matter how complicated the garment?! I wonder if that’s not at least partially a ploy to try and get people to buy their sewing book. That would make some sense if there were a blurb about it in the instruction sheets. The lady’s reaction makes me wonder if she were the one in charge of that decision, or if she tried to get that changed and is still paying the price for it.

    I’ve had some issues with shredding thread, but never tracked which brand. I usually replace needle and thread and continue on. Superior also makes some lovely decorative threads, I have some hologram thread I was going to use for a needlework project, but it still is only in my mind. They have a HUGE booth at the machine quilter shows, I wish I had spent some more time there when it was in town in May.

    1. I was tired and got distracted last night before I did the tutorial, Gail. My bad! (And “Stranger Things” is really creepy/good!)

      It will be up in a new post in just a few minutes 🙂

      And the woman at Simplicity was, I believe, the decision maker.

  4. The anecdote explains a lot about the few Simplicity patterns I have attempted.

    After all these years, though, I finally have the confidence to abandon the instructions when something doesn’t seem right and head for my Vogue Sewing book or Claire Schaeffer’s books. (And the confidence to try Style Arc and Marfy, too).

  5. I love Superior Threads So Fine thread for garment construction! Not only does it not shred, it is exceedingly un-linty, if that’s a word! I have found it strong enough for just about all construction, except perhaps jeans.

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